We’re forging ahead in 2021 with our mission to inspire, educate and advance aerospace and meteorological science. As the world emerges from this global pandemic, we continue to respect international health and safety protocols that are keeping much of our work in areas where our global, volunteer team members individually operate. While we won’t soar in Argentina in 2021, we are moving science and research forward.
The Airbus Perlan Mission II has wrapped up 2019 Campaign IV flights in Argentina. The team members have returned to homes across America and around the world. The Perlan 2 glider is on its way back to the space glider’s home in Minden, Nevada.
Season IV was a great success, with the team having achieved incredible results on our key mission objectives: Innovation, Exploration and Inspiration.
Weather is what ultimately powers a soaring flight and that's exactly the case for Perlan 2. In 2019 Airbus Perlan Mission II started soaring over Patagonia on August 20. Barely over a week later a rare major atmospheric event for the South Pole called Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) was noted.
Flight 65 to 65,000 feet
In 2019 Airbus Perlan Mission II has been ready to fly, but the stratospheric wave lift has been practically unusable above 60,000 feet. (see future Stratospheric Warming blog) The team kept a positive attitude and we launched every chance there was any remote possibility of usable wave around 40,000 feet. Flight #65 on September 17, 2019 had slightly stronger forecasts.
Einar Enevoldson, named the Perlan Project after the rare polar stratospheric clouds that glow pink and blue in the early evening and morning. They are jewels in the stratosphere. These polar stratospheric clouds (PSC) are known in Scandinavia as “Perlan clouds” meaning “pearl” or “mother of pearl.”
The Airbus Perlan Mission II team operates with around 25 volunteers. But not everyone can take 6-8 weeks away from work and families. So we repeatedly say "Hail and Farewell" to inbound and outbound team members. The night of 5 September we welcomed Kristina Messner from Focused Image and bid adios to Bettina Nerb from Airbus. The next morning was to be a fly day. Osvaldo Ferraro arrived from Buenos Aires and presented CEO Ed Warnock with a model of the Perlan and the Egrett - beautiful work!
Aviation measurements can be confusing when different numbers are used to describe similar terms. In the following blog we will compare the useage of the term altitude - pressure and GPS, as well as the useage of the term airspeed - indicated and true.
In the non-wave season Airbus Perlan Mission II took the opportunity to prioritize desirable upgrades to our systems. 2019 was extremely productive for improvements and completely new add-ons. After the first wave flight of the year, Jim summed it up: